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Don’t Miss Tonight’s Supermoon!
Posted on Saturday, July 12, 2014 by eNature

The moon that rises tonight (Saturday) is what has come to be called a “supermoon” —  because it’s both only hours from being perfectly full and hours from one of the year’s closest approaches to Earth.

This combination makes the moon appear bigger and somewhat brighter than usual, even for a full moon. And because the moon always looks larger as it rises, moonrise Saturday night may show off a moon that appears about as big, bright and round as the moon can get.

As the moon rises in the southeast at Saturday evening (at 8:30 or so on the East Coast) it will move west across the dark heavens through the night and early morning before setting in the southwest on Sunday morning.

Astronomers caution that without special equipment it’s difficult for the average skywatcher to assess the moon’s brightness or size. But a supermoon last year was reported to be about 15 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than the year’s run-of-the-mill full moons, and many people may consider themselves capable of spotting a 30 percent boost in brightness.

Of course, the brightness of the moon, as seen from earth, will depend, in part, on the sky’s clarity and the amount of cloud cover.

If clouds do intervene, the next supermoon is not far off. There will be one in August and another in September.

More on the supermoon at Earthsky.com »

(5) CommentsPermalink

Comments

I’ve been having a discussion with a friend on the effect of the full moon on tides.  I say the tide is higher when a full moon occurs, he says that is absolutely not true.  Who is right?

Posted by Nancy Young on 7/12

It is absolutely true. The highest tides will occur on the full moon and the lowest tides on the new moon.

Posted by Jim Flanagan on 7/13

Last night’s full moon, seen in the Philadelphia Metro area, was almost as bright as full moons I’ve seen in rural WV! Was a great reminder of beautiful nights spent in no-light-pollution areas that I still miss.

Posted by Charley Szper on 7/13

Actually, the new moon produces higher tides than the full moon.  When the moon is full, it is on the opposite side of the Earth from the sun.  But during the new moon, the moon is between the Earth and the Sun, so the gravitational forces of the moon and sun are pulling in the same direction, adding up to a greater force lifting the oceans.  The lowest tides (neap tides) occur when the moon is at right angles to the sun, half-full.

Posted by Alice Tempel on 7/14

Interesting! Maybe I will be able to see the next “super moon”.

Posted by Mike on 7/19

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